Canadian Commando is Reacher Personified

Book review: Wearing the Green Beret: A Canadian with the Royal Marine Commandos

Wearing the Green Beret: A Canadian with the Royal Marine CommandosBy Jake OlafsenMcClelland & Stewart (2011), 320 pages; $32.99

I am a big fan of Lee Child and his Jack Reacher books and I admit they are a guilty pleasure. Jack Reacher oozes masculine strength, but Reacher spends the book meting out justice for the sake of the plot. Jake Olafsen is Reacher personified, but with an ego and justice is nary in the picture.

Olafsen is Canadian — a Vancouver Island boy at that — who joined the Royal Marine Commandos. This is his story. Wearing the Green Beret relishes in the masculine milieu — there is no doubt that this book is not meant for the faint of heart or those not supportive of humanitarian or political interventions.

Olafsen wanted to experience war and all that it meant. He did. I am not the target market for a book of this nature — nonetheless, I read it with interest.

The Canadian international identity is wrapped in the peacekeeping role and Olafsen was not looking for peacekeeping. No, based on this book — he was looking for action; he wanted to protect freedom, and so decided to join the British Royal Marines.

One thing missing from the war and the book — politics. The book does not make any assessment on the occupation in Afghanistan. Yes, there are quick value judgments dropped here and there. But the book is really about Olafsen’s journey as a warrior — a commando.

Author Jake Olafsen will be talking about his new book at Bolan Books on Saturday, March 26, at 7 p.m.

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